The Indian Peaks Wilderness Alliance (IPWA) Mission is to Preserve and Protect the Indian Peaks and James Peak Wilderness Areas. The IPWA achieves this mission, in partnership with the US Forest Service, by running nine programs aligned within its four strategic goals of restoration, education, advocation, and patrolling
Colorado is considered a bellwether state in many regards. Not the least of these is the ability of a wilderness system to survive in such close proximity to a highly populated region. The pressure placed upon the Indian Peaks and James Peak Wilderness Areas is extraordinary with the undisciplined and rampant development which surrounds it.
The Indian Peaks wilderness was established on October 12, 1978. It started to get even more heavily impacted by visitors; so in 1980 a citizen's forum was organized by Dr. Anne Forrest Ketchin, Anne Vickery and Jan Robertson.
This forum held round table discussions which developed 27 points of agreement among a very diverse group of interested parties. The US Forest Service agreed to most of the recommendations, and thus began a long-lasting citizen/agency partnership which is soundly in place today as the Indian Peaks Wilderness Alliance.
The Indian Peaks Wilderness Alliance is one of two private citizens nonprofit groups actively protecting the Indian Peaks Wilderness on a regular basis with these volunteer programs:
Wilderness Volunteers with the Alliance provide visitor education, report trial conditions and report any hazards, monitor visitor use and adherence to Wilderness regulations, sponsor public presentations on environmental issues, co-ordinate and participate in trail improvement projects, manage an Wilderness Ranger summer internship program, and grant three scholarships each year for alpine research.
"I have been volunteering with IPWA for 7 years. I do enjoy the wilderness, as well as meeting and helping people to share our great lands. I have mentored 4 great women, who are now also awesome volunteers. I sincerely want the wilderness to be there for my grandchildren and their grandchildren."
"As I crossed the foot bridge, I encountered huge drifts of snow. Looking out for signs of the trail - blue diamonds, cut trees, rocks lining the trail -- I encountered a group of women. "Oh, look here's someone who looks like she knows the trail!"
So began my first solo trail patrol as a patrol volunteer with IPWA and the Forest Service. When I signed up for a hike to Mitchell and Blue Lake, it didn't seem like a big deal. I'd done that hike many times. But throw in a late season snowstorm with the trail buried under three feet of snow, and suddenly what looked familiar wasn't. Through persistence and a team effort, we finally made it to Mitchell Lake. The woman asked me about my role as a Wilderness Trail Patrol Volunteer and thanked me profusely, saying, "This is the most heroic thing you'll probably do all summer!" That, in a nutshell, is why I became a volunteer with IPWA, and why I've taken on my current position as Mentoring Coordinator. That feeling of helping others to enjoy all that the Indian Peaks Wilderness has to offer. Living in Nederland, I consider the Indian Peaks Wilderness to be my backyard. I now work as a freelance writer from home, so have much more time to give to IPWA, and want to encourage you to give more too!"
"Since I was young, wilderness has held a dear place in my heart. After spending a couple of summers as a wilderness ranger with the USFS and USFWS in wilderness areas from Alaska to Nebraska, I wanted to continue supporting wild places! I became a member of the IPWA to preserve opportunities for solitude, and the natural, undeveloped, and untrammeled characteristics in the Indian Peaks and James Peak Wilderness areas. Keep It Wild!"
"My husband and I volunteer with the Indian Peaks Wilderness Alliance because we strongly believe in the existence of wilderness for all to enjoy. Wilderness needs the attention of the people who use it in order to preserve its character. We are proud to help in that effort"
"It's a privilege to witness the pristine beauty (of the Indian Peaks), with all senses. Eyes wide open taking in light and shadows, feeling the elements, and listening for marmots and insects in the breeze...It's a joy to walk the path, as a volunteer in the Indian Peaks Wilderness. One takes pride as an ambassador of nature, smiling together with so many other hikers, welcoming all to our homeland, as extended family. It's essential for us all to help keep an eye on maintaining the safety and beauty of the trails, for all to enjoy, and be there to lend a hand should the need arise."
"I have been stirred by Colorado's mountains since I was a young child growing up in Denver. My appreciation grew when I was a trail crew boss working for USFS near Telluride as a young man. Volunteering with IPWA gives me chance to visit some of the most beautiful places on Earth, and to interact with other people who share my love for the wild."
" Why do I volunteer with the IPWA? It gets me out into the sweet scented forests, jewel lakes and the Rocky Mountains: a place for relaxation and renewal. As the number of visitors is ever increasing but area of wild lands is not, they need protection. I enjoy helping and advising fellow hikers, while being the "eyes and ears" of the Forest service."
"I volunteer for the Indian Peaks Wilderness Alliance to learn more about the wilderness areas in Colorado and the U.S. and to share this knowledge with like-minded individuaJim Merryman (board member):
"I am really proud to serve on the IPWA board. As a wilderness lover I can't wait to learn more and just hope I can help this great
organls I meet through this organization and on the trails. There are endless things to discover, but the resources themselves are not endless. It is important we understand, respect and protect our wilderness areas so the many ecosystems can continue to thrive. It is great to be able to do something I love while doing my part to help preserve this beautiful area. There is nothing more healing to the mind and body than a good strenuous hike in the wilderness. It's impossible to come back from a hike in a bad mood!"
Yonah C (board member):
"I was lucky enough to be born and raised in Eldora and grew up hiking with my dad in the Indian Peaks Wilderness, which shaped my love of nature and wild lands. With the increased pressures brought on by population growth, I appreciate the invaluable work done by the IPWA to educate the public and keep the wilderness "wild"! I'm honored to join the board and volunteer with a group that I strongly believe in!"
"I joined the IPWA because protecting the wilderness so that it is there for my children and my grand children is important to me. The wilderness has so much to teach us and so much for us to enjoy. My parents have worked hard to keep the wilderness wild and its time for me to continue their legacy by supporting the IPWA."